Monday, 29 October 2012

Fat cakes

So I got a great tip from Julia at Stages of Succession, and ran with it.  Fat cakes are a way of keeping birds in your garden over the Winter, which raises the overall bird-friendliness of the garden.  I want birds and other creatures in my garden, because a greater biodiversity means fewer little sods eating my crops.  Encouraging birds and other predators in is cheap and organic, while using pesticides costs money and is arguably poisonous.

Into the blender I've put:

  • A couple slices of bread too stale for toast,
  • The fat leftover from yesterday's roast potatoes,
  • A small pinch of salt,
  • A leftover carrot,
  • Some nuts,
  • Some lentils,
  • An apple that had rolled away unnoticed yesterday whilst I was making cider, from apples...

The resultant paste I put into the ice cube tray and froze overnight to drive out excess fluid and make it firmer.  It also keeps those I'm not using right away fresh.   

I've put three cubes in a shallow tray on the roof of the strawbrary.  I chose that spot because the overlapping wire panels of its roof make it impossible to sneak silently across.  Birds and squirrels sit unmolested there now because the local cats have learned there's no profit in stalking up there.  That was the best I could engineer at the time, though when I've got a few bob spare I plan on attaching jingle bells to the underside of the wire near the joints.  

In other news, the cider's ticking over nicely.  At the bottom of yesterday's page is a short clip of the airlock, taken an hour after the vessel was sealed, bubbling at a rate of roughly 2.5 per ten seconds.  The clip below on this page is from this morning.  Now bubble rate is an interesting proxy for fermentation rate.  Obviously you can't measure alcohol content in real time, and nor can you sit and watch the yeasts eat, but the bubble rate suggests how much sugar they're eating.  From this clip, I'd suggest they're having a twenty course Roman orgy in there!

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